The latest Patreon contributors:

Aron Durkin
Sreemanendu Bhatta

Thanks guys! I appreciate the support.

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New Tool: ml_toolbox

Courtesy of my Patreon supporters, I’ve uploaded the first tool of 2016, ml_toolbox!

ml_toolbox is a utility for organizing scripts in maya. It came about from having a very crowded scripts directory, with no good way to organize or group scripts on disk and also have them easily accessible in maya. I like shelves, but they take some setting up, and can get crowded. The idea with this is that you organize your scripts into folders, and then those folders are used to generate menus in maya.

To try it out, if you download, you’ll get the script and the required root folder (ml_toolbox_menu). It comes with a few example scripts which are organized in maya’s default folders already. Extract the script and folder to your scripts directory, and run import ml_toolbox;ml_toolbox.main(), and you’ll see the scripts in the folders show up in maya’s menus (File, Create, etc.). They’re prefixed with a * for quick identification.

From there, just create new folders and add your own scripts to them. If you want to get rid of a menu, just move it or delete it. If a folder matches an existing Maya menu name, the tools will be added to that menu, if it doesn’t, a new menu will be created. The only requirement for the scripts is for mel files the name of the procedure needs to be the same as the name of the file (which is generally the case), and for python scripts the primary function should be called main() or ui(). See the header of the script for more info on advanced use, or I can go into more detail if people would like. All the scripts on this site should work fine with it.

Version: 2
31.5 KiB

And last, I have to mention that I’m writing this an hour before midnight on the last day of January, and so I know I definitely would have shirked this deadline without the Patreon supporters, so I can say that the experiment is working so far. Thank you guys! Time to start thinking about next months tool…

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Thanks Supporters!

Thanks to more of you fine people:

Carsten Seller
Duncan Rudd

Ruaraidh Gillies

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Halfway Through Month One

Thank you supporters! Here’s a couple of you:

Brian Chambaere
Craig Penn
Jonathan Lyons
Juani Guiraldes
…and 6 others, hopefully I can share them soon as well.

I honestly appreciate it. I’m polishing up the first script, I’m just going to tease about it for now: I use it every day, whether I’m rigging or animating. It’s not flashy, but it helps keep me organized. It seems like an appropriate tool to post first, and it will even come with a few smaller tools as a bonus. Stay tuned…

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Comedy for Animators Book

My friend Jonathan Lyons has just published a book about physical comedy as it relates to animation: Comedy For Animators

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Happy New Year, Patreon is Go

patreon_logo2016 has arrived, the campaign is live, and the first month begins! Here is my Patreon page:

To summarize, I’ve started a Patreon campaign to support writing a new tool or tutorial every month this year. Check out the link above for complete info, or my previous post for some backstory.

If you aren’t sure what Patreon is exactly, here’s their blurb.

Thanks, I wish you all a productive and prosperous New Year!

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New Year Experiment

It’s the end of the year, and I have somewhat of a new years resolution for 2016. Like any standard new years resolutions, there’s a thing which I haven’t been doing enough, and I’d really like to do the thing more, but I just haven’t found the time/motivation/etc. The thing is, I want to post more tools and tutorials. I’ve been sitting on a small backlog of requests, ideas, and unfinished work which I’d really like to complete and share. I still don’t seem to have a lot of free time, but I have an idea for the motivation.

I’m going to run a Patreon campaign, to release a new maya script or tutorial every month next year. If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it’s a sort of crowdfunding platform where patrons pledge a small contribution every month to support creators. For myself it’s a bit of an experiment, at the moment I’m only planning on running it for the year, since I’m not sure what to expect from the whole experience, but I know that will be within my ability to commit.

The scripts and tutorials produced will be free and open source for everyone, so you wont need to be a patron to get them. The perks of being a patron will be to help choose what gets created: do you prefer mostly tools, or tutorials? Animation or rigging? The main thing for me isn’t pledges so much as being accountable to people, as a motivator to finish some of the things I’ve started, and share more content with you guys.

More info and the official Patreon launch soon, in the mean time please do feel free to comment, especially if you think this is a great or terrible idea. The plan is pretty simple at the moment, so any feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading, happy holidays!

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Free Tiger Puppet

CGSpectrum have released a free animation rig that I helped build!


Grab it here and take it for a spin:

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Road Chip Trailer

I realized, a bit late, that I have to continue the tradition of posting a trailer of the movie I’m working on. So without further ado:

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Sticking Transforms to Vertices.

I wanted to stick transforms on a mesh, and I was curious about the fastest solution in vanilla maya (no plugins). I was only interested in position, not orientation, as in my situation getting orientation from normals could be a bit unpredictable. Maya’s finally got a pointOnPoly node but interestingly it was the slowest solution. The old fallback was using follicle nodes, which is also slow. I didn’t try an old rivet script, which from memory uses quite a bit of history to convert edges to curves and such. To benchmark these I used a default polySphere with a locator set to follow every vertex, 382 in total. Interestingly, the best results are with one big expression running a bunch of pointPosition commands.

This is in Maya 2015:
pointOnPoly: 11.86 fps
pointOnPoly, disconnect rotate: 12.78 fps
Follicle: 16.31 fps
Expression per transform: 27.38 fps
One big expression: 38.33 fps

Is there a better solution for doing this?

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